Craig Adkins – nothing
like Freemasonry in
I am relatively new to Freemasonry, and at 33
still consider myself to be fairly young! Since
my initiation I have read a number of articles
within various publications concerning how
best to recruit and retain younger brethren.
Some of the comments I agree with and
think sensible. However, others have left
me feeling slightly uneasy.
Some of these views suggest younger
people are deterred from Masonry because
Lodge proceedings are too staid, the ritual
no longer resonates with modern values,
speeches and ceremonies are too long and
that morning attire is archaic. These views
The most intriguing and exciting aspect
of Masonry is that it is like nothing else
available in contemporary society. The
elements of the Craft which enthuse and
draw me towards it are the same as those
which some more established brethren are
suggesting need reform.
In today’s society the majority of young
people have a full and hectic social life, so
whilst the convivial side of Freemasonry
is enjoyable, it is not the primary reason
for me choosing to attend Lodge meetings.
I also suspect that the value placed on this
side of things has changed significantly
over the years.
The motivation for my attendance at
Lodge concerns not only enjoying the
experience of a regular monthly evening
like nothing else, but also the immense
amount of pleasure I glean from the serious
parts of Freemasonry, namely delivering,
understanding and contemplating the ritual.
There is also a lot of enjoyment gleaned
out of appreciating the art of speech-making
during the festive board.
The challenge of performing to the
best of my ability in the disciplines of
Freemasonry brings me back to my Lodge
each month. It therefore follows that, in
order to keep a new member energised
about his Masonry, it is important to provide
regular, appropriate challenges. A small
speech or section of ritual to start before
progression to more demanding
responsibilities would seem the ideal.
The Preceptors at my own Lodge have
been incredibly supportive of my own
development by providing me with
incrementally challenging tasks, and by
finding the right balance between challenge
I have also read many views on recruiting
young brethren into our ranks. Thus far
I have proposed only one person into my
Lodge, but I have had many conversations
with friends when the topic of Masonry has
arisen. From these deliberations the most
fascinating parts of Freemasonry which
will entice them to delve deeper into the
subject, are again, the traditional aspects.
Before I joined my Lodge I remember
vividly being enthralled by the prospect of
wearing morning dress and belonging to
a society which the general population
believes is still surrounded by such mystique.
I am conscious that my feelings on this
matter represent a more traditional view of
Freemasonry and are perhaps not what
might be expected from the ‘next
generation’. I make no apology for my
stance. My plea to all involved is to
understand that even for ‘us youngsters’
the conventional, time-honoured aspects
of our fraternity provide the most fulfilment.
I would not want to see Freemasonry
become more open, nor would I want to
change Lodge ritual or the structure of the
Festive Board. Freemasonry is as valuable
now, in its current guise, to the current
generation, as it has ever been. I really
hope that we start to realise and appreciate
that the system, ethos and artefacts we
already have are the best blueprint for our
success in the future.
Craig Adkins is a member of Frankley St George
Lodge No. 8212, Province of Worcestershire